Friday, June 29, 2012

Vinegar in the Dishwasher

I saw a tip on Pinterest that vinegar could be added to the dishwasher for cleaner dishes. I don't know about all of you, but I have one of the world's worst at my apartment. I put dishes in the dishwasher to wash them, not to take them out and wash them again. Do I ask too much? I sought out a way to fix it, tried this tip, and I am hooked! It is so worth it, and that's mere pennies!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dining Wall Decor

I have a massive wall in my apartment where my dining table is located. I didn't find a huge wall picture that I loved, so, I opted for a collage on a budget. It's easy to throw things on the wall when you're attached to them. I love the coziness of antiques! I am vintage all the way.
Here's what I have:
1.) Painting of downtown Leighton, Alabama, by Mark Chamblee.
2.) Photo of Trowbridge's in Hobby Lobby half off frame.
3.) Metal kitchen graters, bought at Bank Street Antiques for $3.50 TOTAL!
4.) Cheese grater on the right, a gift from our dear family friends, the Wombachers. They presented me with this after        I cut my thumb and had to have stitches while cutting the rind off of Whole Foods cheese!
5.) Far left kitchen diary from 1904, bought at Keepers of the Past in Sheffield, Alabama.
6.) Vintage coffee shop cups, bought at an antique store in Fairhope, Alabama.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Retro Recipe Revival

I love old cookbooks. I've been lucky enough to inherit some of these well used gems from family, friends and so on. Old recipes cook up just as good as the new ones. Sometimes, they're simplicity makes them even more worthwhile. Tonight I tried out an old new recipe, Mexican Casserole. How cute to have a dinner straight from the good ole' days! Billy and I both loved it. Enjoy! 
1 lb. lean hamburger
1 can black beans 
1 can cream of chicken
1 can cream of mushroom
1 can mild Ro-tel tomatoes
1 medium onion chopped
7-8 flour tortillas

1.) Cook meat until brown and drain.
2.) Place in 9 by 13 dish, add one can of soup. Mix around.
3.) Add beans and onion, tortillas to cover, and cheese. 
4.) On top of cheese, add drained tomatoes, other soup, rest of tortillas, and cheese.
5.) Bake at 350, mine took 35 minutes. I guess ovens might work faster these days? 

It's as simple and as lovely as that. I had homemade guacamole as our side. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Musical Cooking

A picture of me with southern food. Now there's something you don't see everyday.
Musical chairs, eh? Not today. It's a fun game, but I'm all about musical cooking. Get me some oldies going while I'm chopping vegetables and I'm working faster by each measure, or measure, however you see it. I've heard all sorts of studies about listening to music while you complete tasks. It helps me in many ways besides cooking. I like to listen to it while I write and clean. It makes things move faster and better, in my opinion.
I have a cooking playlist on my Mac. I switch it up depending on what I'm cooking. If it's southern, I'm "Patsy-Clining" it all the way through. Holiday meal? Christmas music. If you haven't ever done this, I would encourage you to start. It is a great tool in the craft of cooking. In my mind it ranks right up there with tempering and tasting.  It energizes you and sometimes makes you feel more confident if you're trying a new recipe. It's the background music that ends in a drumroll to a perfect dish.
If you don't already have one, I encourage a SPOTIFY account. It's a free app download for any techno device. You can listen to any music you want for free. You just can't "take it with you," i.e. make a cd. It's ITunes minus the $.99. You can follow social media friends to see what they listen to or, share your favorite songs with the social media world.  Feel free to look me up if you decide on one.
I love to cook. I love music. Musical cooking, genius.

Monday, June 25, 2012



Illuminating Powder
Translucent Oil-Control Powder

I wear foundation and powder everyday. Oh, wait, did I forget to mention the summer days that are 111 degrees? I'm sorry Mr. Sun, I love you but sometimes you are much too pushy. Think of the days where it is so hot in the south that my makeup is melting off my face? Do you have to do this to me? Heaven help us. Last night, as I was preparing to go out to Billy's baseball game, I felt that old summer routine come to fruition. Shorts, breezy top, stand at mirror, find out how high I can get my hair off my forehead and neck, and try not to have a hot flash while putting on my lipstick. I can't lie, I want to be a cute fan for him, but what am I to do in the heat? It was so hot humidity was forming on my cellphone! People, please! I have searched high and low for some makeup options in the heat, as I mention some good heat beaters in my previous post. I just can't do foundation and powder and this and that when I'm hotter than a pig at a July barbecue. Not long after I wrote the post just mentioned, I stumbled upon the world of illumination. How do I find these things, you ask? I'm reading makeup blogs when I get off work at 11 p.m.,or clicking Pinterest pictures, free advice, lovely. I'm head over heels for Nars Copacabana Illuminator. It gives a healthy glow, is drying in the heat, and has a no orange (Hallelujah)! I do not know how I ever lived without it. I swipe it on my face with my waterproof mascara and I am ready for him to take me out to the ballgame.

If you look hard enough, you'll find that makeup trends start at high end brands and make their way down to the lesser expensive ones. Sometimes, they're even made by the same companies. Like off brand at the grocery store, which I'm also crazy about! These illuminator/bronzer products have quality at a variety of price ranges. You can buy anything from $2 to $52, whatever suits your fancy. Yet, since you're using it so sparingly in the heat, you'll likely find that lower price doesn't mean a quality sacrifice as much as it sometimes does with things like flaky $1.00 mascara. I'm into deals on makeup, too. I use coupons, or sales through emails to get good deals on the more expensive products out there. I may or may not sacrifice Oreo's in my grocery budget if I really want that nude lip liner. Even if I buy a product and don't love it, I find a way to use it. (Bronzer hate? It's an eyeshadow)

Please be careful with bronzer, you don't need to look like an Indian chief. Pick a more fair shade than you think you need and put it on with a powder brush, no sponge. If bronzer is not your thing, use a translucent powder, no tint. This will also help dry your face when foundation is too much. I hope you've learned a little something from my research. Stay hydrated, glowing, and don't sacrifice your beauty even in sweltering circumstances!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Shirts and Shells

Add a stripe or bright color underneath

Add another stripe such as the one below or bright color underneath

I love color on color, stripe on stripe, stripe on color, the list goes on forever. I currently have a black and white striped tank that I wear under all sorts of sheer things. I wash it multiple times a week. Money's worth, I tell you. The more you mix, the more outfits, novel, eh? Don't be afraid to throw a different shell underneath a summer look. In the heat, this visual interest will allow you to wear less and still look polished. Nothing's worse than someone wearing less than they should, mercy me. Stay classy, San Diego. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Don't Throw Etiquette Out the Window


This morning on the Today Show, I saw this video clip. If you haven't heard the story, it is about an older woman being taunted by school children on the bus she supervised. This video struck a cord with me and I immediately knew I wanted to blog on it today. To say this is shameful is kind. It is much worse than that. It is horrible when kids bully other kids. Yet, when it is the reverse, kids doing it to adults, wow. There aren't any levels of bad in my book. Bad is bad. This is more uncommon in today's observance of bullying. Where is respect and dignity in the world? Is there any left?
When people ask me what I do and I tell them I'm an etiquette instructor, I get several varied responses as I've mentioned before. Raised eyebrows, "I don't like people like you," or, smiles, and, "That is so wonderful." It's a good thing I don't care when people chide, "Oh, must I put my pinky this way?" I don't care because it validates me when I see videos like this. It may seem somewhat unusual that I went to school to teach people how to act. It's something that many just assume they know, more of an "I don't need that," kind of thing. I don't want to sound uppity, that's definitely not my purpose whatsoever. I know there is room for my improvement, I'm reminded of it as I constantly make mistakes.
My overall take on this video is a little rant on society today. Now, I don't have kids, so I'm not commenting on that, either. What I am bothered by more than anything is people's lack of response. You put it out there, be prepared to pay. We aren't walking mummies in the Thriller video, although, sometimes, I wonder. We've become so politically correct we cannot see the clear cut. Where was the bus driver? Where were other kids to stop and say no? Stop the diverting, please!! What has made us all so afraid of, "No?" When we see something wrong, we must respond. "What will they do to me if I do something?" How about, "I don't care, I'll take care of it?" Assertiveness is the key to this success. Maybe that assertiveness doesn't come in the exact moment. Maybe it comes at a private time, when more appropriate. Depending on the situation, the main point is handling it, and handling it well. When we witness a person run through a red light and strike another car, we stop and file a report. We don't scurry away swooping our cars around like Mario Cart. Why should we let the person texting and driving get away with the accident? Who knows if our statement will be a key to the fault of the wreck? We don't have anywhere to be compared to the current situation. The fear of doing the right thing is overwhelming us. I'm definitely interested in what will come of this in the media. God bless this woman for her control. Look what happens when you strike while the iron is hot. You wind up on the Today Show in what I'm sure will be a trending topic for days. Experience is life's greatest teacher.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Shout Out to My Girl Wendy

I hardly EVER eat fast food. However, when a cold comes my way, I'm more likely to indulge. Today, I had one of the best hamburgers I've ever had at Wendy's. I don't know what is new about them except they have a more vintage hamburger joint look to them nowadays. This little package looked straight from an old school diner. I'm all about good food when times are tough. Seriously, maybe it was because I was actually craving something, who knows. All I know is that it will be hard for me not to give into these more often. Mmmm....mmmmm...good.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Holy Moly Water

Sorry for no blog on Friday or Monday! I went out of town to a wedding Friday a.m. Last night, I knew I was feeling more tired than usual. This morning, I'm up with a cold, currently comatose on the couch. Hope all of you are having a great week.

I love carbonated water. I drink more of it and it doesn't bore me. Enter this oddly named brand, Talking Rain. This water tastes nothing of the sort. If I didn't know any better, I'd swear it was packed with sugar. You can look at their website to see where to buy it. So far, I've had luck at Sam's, Dollar General, and Kroger. I cannot say enough good things about this drink. Every flavor is heavenly, especially in the heat. It's making its way to the likes of Perrier, and Dasani, becoming available in more and more places. I hope and pray it's here to stay. Dehydrated is one thing I won't be this summer!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Horizon Dairy, I'm Obsessed with You

While visiting D.C. a few years ago, I first tried Horizon Organic Milk. I fell in love with it. Upon my return to Alabama, I searched high and low for it. I could only find it at Whole Foods, which meant coolers to and from Tuscaloosa. Finally, it made its way to my Wal-Mart, Kroger, Target, etc., making my love for it easily accessible. I know it's just skim milk, but it's more than that to me! This is my special treat at the grocery store. It lasts MUCH longer than regular milk, and it's produced without additives. Even though it's skim, it's not watery. This has a creamy texture, perfect for cereal, coffee, cooking, you get the gist. Everything about this brand is of the highest quality. Here's their website.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Current Favorite Facial Cleanser

This is a great face wash, less than five dollars, and cannot be beat. I love the smell of it so much. It takes of my waterproof mascara like a charm. It's not too think nor thick. Don't be confused with their classic apricot scrub, this is not the same product. I put this moisturizer on top. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Rockabilly, Pouf, Beehive, and Bouffant

Hello! This hairstyle goes anywhere and everywhere! Better get to readin' and practicin', belles! 

Business Beehive

Beach Bouffant

Saturday Pouf

Rockabilly Bridesmaid

Sometimes I wonder what I'll think of pictures of myself in twenty years. Currently, and holding on strong (oh, I kill myself) for quite sometime has been this convenient hairstyle. I'm so about it, I don't even care about the laughs that may come when I'm sixty. I'm this girl: I see it, I want my hair to do it, I find a way. It may or may nor haunt me later. However, hold on to those bell bottoms, people. Hippie is making another round. Oh, how you wish you'd held on to those sixties tribal prints.

Although the title of this post could be some great names for farm animals, today I'm talking big hair. Supposedly, southern women know how to, "Hike their hair to heaven." Well, let me tell you. People think this hairdo is a mystery. People come up to me fingers pointed, jaws dropped, "How'd you get your hair to do that?" "Can I touch it?" "Please give me a quick lesson." "I can't do that with my hair." I've heard it all. With practice, you can! I'm all about healthy hair. I'm not a back comber, no sir. I won't lie, it took practice. Somedays my hair will hike it to Jesus, while other days it's as flat as a corncake. We women know how to go to war with our hair. We attack it like the D-Day landing, because nobody else knows just how to "fix" it.
 Here's my battle plan:
1.) You'll need dry shampoo, bobby pins, coordinating ponytail holders, and lightweight hairspray.
2.) Wash your hair the night before, or day before, or two days before, whatever your dirty preference may be.
3.) Flip your hair over your head and spray dry shampoo on top.
4.) Leave for several minutes. Comb shampoo out of hair.
5.) Take a small front section of hair, for me, its my bangs. Grab at top of head and "pouf" forward. Pin in place with one pin going to the right and another to the left.
6.) Sweep rest of hair into a low bun or ponytail. I twist my hair completely, wrap it around in a circle, and throw a ponytail holder on to secure.
7.) Spray with hairspray.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Beautiful Brow

Even with just mascara and powder, eyebrows are done.
Here's me dressed up directing a wedding this weekend, eyebrows here a little darker. Not to mention the wonderful photographer I got to work with and who has beautiful brows, Amy!!!! :)

For a long time, I was afraid of eyebrow pencils. I didn't want the Elizabeth Taylor brow, ten times darker than my hair color and drawn on a different way for every photo. I, like most people, have brows that are slightly lighter than my hair. I also have what many makeup artists call, white spots, places that are not filled in on the brow line. FYI, Sephora will do an express eye makeup session for FREE. It takes ten minutes and you don't have to buy anything. One off day, I ventured there for some powder I was out of. I decided to let them do my brows, and now I cannot live without guess what, eyebrow pencil. I don't pick a shade that exactly matches my hair, instead, one shade lighter. That way, I can control how dark they need to be. I don't spend big money on these, the cheaper, the better. I do encourage you to try one. Some are even $.99 (YES!) and can make a huge change in the look of your makeup. If you try it and hate it, what have you lost? Nothing. You can use that same pencil as an eyeliner, boom. Please gorgeous, give it a try.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Denim Darlings

"Denim has always been an everyday symbol for style." 
--Ritu Kumar 

Denim is such a classic wardrobe staple. I love jeans, but today I'm talking about the denim shirt. This is my shirt cycle: I buy one, wear it until it has holes, then buy another one. These go year round with anything and everything. My favorite and longest lasting ones are J.Crew Outlet Chambray. They look great on any person at any age with any skin color. There are SO many ways to wear them. I love to tie the unbuttoned ends in knots and make it a cardigan, tie it in the middle like a popover, or belt it with something underneath. When I look back at old photos, I am attracted to the fashion, how did you guess? The ones that stand the test of time are, guess what? I wish I had all the vintage pieces I've seen in family photos. They are amazing. If you hate the dread of, "What will I wear today," think how easily your problems are solved with this one shirt. Pant, shirt, done. Own one, own fifty, I won't judge. If someone asks me, "Can I wear denim with this?" My answer is always a resounding, "YES!" The versatility is endless.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Whole Grain Habit

Man, oh man, I love me some grains. Today I'm showing pictures of my current favorites. I cannot get enough of these! If I'm out, I have to go to the store to get them. Addicted, I admit. Here we go:

1.) Quaker Caramel Rice Cakes. I like these plain or with peanut butter on top. JIF, the only peanut butter I'll eat. Holy heaven.
2.) Chocolate Cheerios, enough said.
3.) Cheerios with Craisins. These two come together and make magic. Magic, I tell you, magic.
4.) Pepperidge Farm Small Slice, the cutest little bread on the block.
5.) Honey Made Chocolate Graham Crackers, my dessert obsession.

Monday, June 4, 2012

UNA Etiquette Camp

Last week proved one of my most rewarding yet. I taught etiquette camp all week long at UNA. I had two groups of kids, 8-11 and 12-16. I got pictures of my younger group, as they are in that stage. These kids were all so precious! I had a great time with both groups. We practiced everything from responding to adults, to table manners, to posture. I took a little off week from blogging to start back graduate classes and teach during the day. I'm back on schedule this week! Enjoy yours!